The course focuses on the theories behind chemical interactions in nature and how they affect abundance and distribution of organisms. Examples of such interactions are chemical defence, chemical communication (how to find a mate and maintain social structure) and how to find food. It is also essential to understand how these interactions have evolved and the biosynthetic origin of the molecules mediating the interactions. Terrestrial as well as aquatic organisms and systems will be discussed. Lab work and exercises give insight into how active substances are isolated and identified and how their biological activity can be tested. Besides, different ways to use the knowledge to develop monitoring systems and to suppress harmful pests in an environmentally friendly manner are presented.
The course ends with a project where you use the knowledge and methods you learnt during the course. The project is presented orally and as a written report.
The course has a written exam, but also presentations, project and seminars influence the grade given.
The course is adequate for students aiming at a future in biological research where chemical interactions are studies or chemical methods used. The course is also relevant for students with an interest in jobs related to agriculture, forestry or environmental monitoring and protection. The course can be combined with other advanced courses in biology such as Molecular ecology and evolution, Ecotoxicology, Evolutionary Animal Ecology, Sensory biology, Plant evolution and diversity, Aquatic ecology, Plant ecology, Soil ecology, Conservation biology. It can also be combined with Insect Chemical Ecology at The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Alnarp.
Professor. Head of Unit
The course will be given in English during the second part of the spring semester.